KABUL: Japan has announced a plan to provide scholarships to Afghan students pursuing master’s and doctoral programs in Japan, in a move seemingly connected with recent restrictions imposed by the Taliban on women and girls’ education.
In a tweet posted on Sunday, the Japanese Embassy in Afghanistan stated that Tokyo will commence offering academic opportunities to Afghan students in Japan starting in 2024, specifically targeting master’s and doctoral programs. The Embassy also mentioned that the selection process will soon commence in collaboration with the Aga Khan Foundation.
The Embassy tweeted, “Embassy of Japan is pleased to announce scholarships (MA & Dr. course) for Afghan students wishing to pursue academic opportunities in Japan from 2024. The Embassy will initiate the selection process in cooperation with the Aga Khan Foundation. Please see the attached document for further details.”
Previously, during a meeting between Japan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Okada Takashi, and Taliban-led Acting Minister of Higher Education, Nada Mohammad Nadim, the latter called for increased cooperation from Tokyo in providing academic scholarships and learning opportunities to Afghan students, as reported by Khaama Press.
Additionally, Mullah Abdullah Sarhadi, the Taliban Governor for central Bamyan province, held a meeting with Ambassador Okada Takashi, urging the implementation of academic scholarship programs for Afghan students.
The Japanese scholarship program for Afghan students is set to begin in 2024. However, the Taliban’s ban on girls above the sixth grade attending schools remains in effect since assuming power in 2021. The international community has strongly condemned these restrictions on girls’ education.
In June, on their graduation day, graduates of a medical school at Afghanistan’s Paktia University called upon the Taliban to immediately reopen schools and universities for girls. The graduates emphasized the right to education for girls and the importance of not wasting their time.